After a Cleveland Browns players tested positive for COVID-19, the team will be without a significant chunk of their wide receivers corps.
On Saturday, news broke that the Cleveland Browns shut down their facility delayed their flight to New Jersey after linebacker BJ Goodson tested positive for COVID-19. As is the case when any player tests positive, the team looks at close contacts. Unfortunately for the Browns, a key offensive group could be out for their Week 16 game.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen, wide receivers Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins and Donovan Peoples-Jones have been deemed high-risk close contacts and are ruled out for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.
Additionally, Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot reports that those three receivers, along with wideout KhaDarel Hodge and linebacker Jacob Phillips, are being placed on reserve/COVID-19 list. Cleveland’s game vs. the Jets will still be played on Sunday, per Kabot.
Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins and Donovan People-Jones have been deemed High-Risk-Close-Contacts, per @mortreport and me. Browns awaiting further instruction but all three now could be out Sunday vs. Jets. https://t.co/TyMsq3IPhV
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 26, 2020
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) December 26, 2020
Browns offense dealt a huge blow on Sunday
With this news, Marvin Hall is the only receiver on the Browns’ active roster that is eligible to play on Sunday. In response, the team is elevating receivers Derrick Willies and Ja’Marcus Bradley from the practice squad, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Media.
This is the worst possible news for a Browns team that was inching towards their first playoff berth since 2002. Now, quarterback Baker Mayfield will essentially have to work with a practice squad receiving corps against a Jets team who just earned their first win last week against the Los Angeles Rams. Sure, it’s the Jets, but having zero starting receivers available will make any game difficult to win.
With this latest update, you can expect the Browns to heavily lean upon their two-headed monster running back duo of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Interesting to note that Hunt can catch passes out of the backfield, so you can’t rule out head coach Kevin Stefanski lining him up at the line of scrimmage.
We’ve seen the Denver Broncos play a game this season without a single quarterback available due to COVID-19 close contacts, and now we’re going to see the Browns play without their starting wide receiver corps.